Before Tyrone Collins churned out a highlight-reel sophomore football season at Braden River, he was spending the summer of 2015 working toward a starting role on the Pirates’ varsity defense.
Helping him get better was one of Braden River’s seniors drawing college interest, defensive back/linebacker JoJo Louis, who signed with Florida International University on signing day last February.
“He taught me mostly to jam,” Collins said. “I learned how to jam all because of him.”
Now? Collins is on everyone’s radar. The rising junior defensive back picked up his sixth Division I college offer a day after excelling in Braden River’s spring game victory at St. Petersburg Lakewood.
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The latest offer came from Michigan.
For a school of that magnitude to send a defensive coordinator down to ask about one player, you know at that point in time that there’s some legitimate interest.
Braden River football head coach Curt Bradley
Braden River head coach Curt Bradley said Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown arrived about a week before the spring game to ask about Collins.
“For a school of that magnitude to send a defensive coordinator down to ask about one player, you know at that point in time that there’s some legitimate interest,” Bradley said.
That interest was confirmed after Collins recorded an interception and forced a fumble while limiting Lakewood wide receiver Matt Landers, who verbally committed to Georgia this week.
“I went to straight to mom and was so excited and everything,” Collins said. “... I then came back to school and everybody talked about it, and made me more excited.”
Florida Atlantic was the first to offer Collins, and then the offers started piling up; Iowa State, Boston College, Western Kentucky and Bowling Green want his services in a couple years.
“Recruiting has changed so much, even in the last four or five years,” Bradley said. “It used to be your junior year mattered. Now your sophomore year matters. ... Different kids at different times. He had a tremendous sophomore season. He’s got long arms. He’s a very fast kid and he’s a great competitor.”
That sophomore season saw Collins produce seven interceptions, while taking on the opposition’s top targets. He was assigned to cover St. Thomas Aquinas junior wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who has offers that include Ohio State, Florida and Florida State, and Plant City’s T.J. Chase, who signed with Clemson, during Braden River’s march to the Class 7A state semifinals.
Bradenton Herald sports reporter David Wilson got a close-up video of Collins interception against Aquinas last December:
His breakout season netted the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Collins second-team All-State honors and gave notice to college recruiters that he’s a playmaker on defense.
“It just takes one offer to change the course of your life,” Bradley said. “Some guys take it in one of two ways. Some guys take it as, ‘Oh, I’ve got an offer. I’m set. I don’t have to do anything more.’ And they just kind of fall back on that. Other guys see it as a tremendous opportunity as, ‘Hey, I need to make sure my academics are in line. I need to make sure I keep getting better, and maybe want more offers or different offers.’”
For Collins, he’s not resting at the six D-I offers he’s received. He wants more. And helping guide him through the recruiting process and remain grounded is Bradley and offensive coordinator Eric Sanders, who both played at Northern Iowa.
“They’ve been there already,” Collins said. “So they help me to keep going and going, and listening to them to get better and better.”
Tyrone Collins college football offers timeline
- Jan. 25: Florida Atlantic
- May 9: Iowa State
- May 10: Western Kentucky
- May 11: Bowling Green
- May 18: Boston College
- May 20: Michigan